[ pur ]
See synonyms for: purrpurredpurring on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
  1. to utter a low, continuous, murmuring sound expressive of contentment or pleasure, as a cat does.

  2. (of things) to make a sound suggestive of the purring of a cat: The new motor of the car purred.

verb (used with object)
  1. to express by or as if by purring.

  1. the low, vibrating sound made by a cat by the contracting of the laryngeal muscles and the diaphragm as it breathes.

  2. a sound resembling this.

  1. the act of purring.

Origin of purr

First recorded in 1595–1605; imitative
  • Also Archaic, pur .

Other words from purr

  • purr·ing·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with purr

Words Nearby purr

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use purr in a sentence

  • She would put her paws on his shoulders, and rub his face, and purr in a most contented manner.

  • Then the room became silent, and I heard her heavy breathing, like the deep purr of a cat.

    Tiger Cat | David H. Keller
  • "Back—some time," replied Chester's voice, rising above the low purr of the engine with a note of satisfaction in it.

    Red Pepper Burns | Grace S. Richmond
  • Catching the throbbing purr of the Imp as the car swung in at the driveway Chester jumped up.

    Red Pepper Burns | Grace S. Richmond
  • The scaup came down the sky in dark masses, giving a rippling purr as they flew.

    Wild Folk | Samuel Scoville

British Dictionary definitions for purr


/ (pɜː) /

  1. (intr) (esp of cats) to make a low vibrant sound, usually considered as expressing pleasure, etc

  2. (tr) to express (pleasure, etc) by this sound

  1. a purring sound

Origin of purr

C17: of imitative origin; compare French ronronner to purr, German schnurren, Dutch snorren

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012